Randomised Coffee Trials

This is a form of Lunch and Learn, pairing different healthcare professionals for short and informal lunchtime talks

Name: Daniel Froste


Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Who asked?

Chosen as an area for development by the Library Lead

What did they say?

Barnsley Hospital Library Service wanted to offer more Knowledge Management/ Knowledge sharing initiatives. The Library Lead presented Knowledge Management principles to the Trust’s People Engagement Group. Introducing KM to Barnsley Hospital was supported at the group and it was suggested that a version of Randomised Coffee Trials would be a good introduction.

What did you do?

The Library Lead adapted the principles of a Randomised Coffee Trial and held pairings over a lunchtime in the newly refurbished library as a way to showcase the new space. Budget was approved for catering, hence the name ‘Lunch and Learn’ with the tag ‘have lunch and learn from your colleagues’ was used. Individuals were paid at random and all other aspects of Lunch and Learn resemble those of a traditional Randomised Coffee Trial. At the time of writing, 36 ‘Lunch and Learns’ (72 participants) have been completed over 6 sessions. Talking points were provided if required. Pairings in the first round included:

  • Director of Finance and Learning Co-ordinator
  • Head of Learning and Development and Training Nurse Associate
  • Associate Director or HR and OD and Vocational Training Apprentice
  • Medical Photographer and Student Support Practice Educator
  • Acute Team Lead Dietician and Library Lead
  • Training Nurse Associate and Associate Director or HR and OD
  • Specialist Infection Control Nurse and Education Co-ordination Team Leader

How did it help?

Lunch and Learn has been adopted as part of the library’s core offer and launched the library’s knowledge management work. They have also helped individuals in a number of ways and the following table suggests participants’ feelings towards the event.

  Yes No
“I connected with someone I otherwise would not have met” 93.33% 6.67%
“I widened my professional network” 86.67% 13.37%
“I have learned something new” 100% 0%
“I shared knowledge about my role” 100% 0%
“I have gained better understanding of a different staff group” 95.56% 4.44%

Lunch and learns have also resulted in examples of collaborative working. This is apparent in some of the free text comments in the feedback: “Many thanks I have been able to involve another health care professional in the preceptorship programme for newly qualified nurses and AHP’s”. Participants also commented with the following: “Excellent way to connect with someone you wouldn’t normally interact with to understand different roles and departments”, “this is a useful way to informally meet new colleagues and in the great newly refurbished library made it a fun experience” and “it was an excellent way of meeting new colleagues and a positive way to encourage communication between different disciplines with the organisation”.

June 2019